F1 in 2016: Analysing the times on each tyre at winter testing
Who was quickest across Pirelli's five tyres in Barcelona?
By William Esler
Last Updated: 09/03/16 11:00am
After eight days of pre-season running at the Circuit de Catalunya we analyse who looked the strongest on each of Pirelli's five dry tyre compounds.
World champions Mercedes never ventured onto the supersoft or ultrasoft tyres, but nevertheless looked competitive on the soft and medium rubber.
Ferrari led the way on Pirelli's softest compound with a 1:22.765 for Kimi Raikkonen while Sebastian Vettel posted a 1:22.810. The next best ultrasoft times was set by Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso with a 1:23.134.
The longest stints on the ultrasoft tyres came from Vettel on Day Two of the first test and Valtteri Bottas on Day One of the second test with both managing seven laps.
Best ultrasoft times
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.765, Test Two, Day Three
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:22.810, Test One, Day Two
3. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:23.134, Test Two, Day Four
Surprisingly,Vettel only gained 0.04 on the ultrasoft tyres over the supersofts whereas Raikkonen gained three tenths.
Force India impressed on the red-banded tyres with a 1:23.110 for Nico Hulkenberg on Day Three of the first test.
Vettel ran the longest stint during testing at eight laps on Day Two of Test One.
Best supersoft times
1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:22.852, Test Two, Day Two
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:23.050, Test Two, Day Three
3. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:23.110, Test One, Day Three
The soft tyre is likely to be used as the qualifying tyre at the Spanish GP and it is the first one where a comparison between Mercedes and Ferrari can be made.
Raikkonen led the way on the yellow-marked tyres with a 1:23.009, edging out Nico Rosberg who was the quickest Mercedes driver with a 1:23.022. Williams were a further tenth back.
Hamilton and Vettel didn't post competitive times on the soft compound, with both around six tenths off the pace set by Raikkonen.
Bottas' 17-lap run on the soft tyres on Day Two of the first test was the longest stint on the compound during testing.
Best soft times
1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:23.009, Test Two, Day Three
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:23.022, Test Two, Day One
3. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:23.193, Test Two, Day Three
On the medium tyres, Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg were comfortably clear of the chasing pack.
Rosberg set a 1:24.126, with Hamilton's best a 1:24.133 leaving the pair half a second clear of Ferrari's Vettel.
Sainz was once again best of the rest in the Toro Rosso, less than a tenth behind Vettel and quicker than Raikkonen on the medium tyres.
Renault's Kevin Magnussen ran the longest stint on the medium tyres with 30 laps on Day Four of the first test.
Best medium times
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.133, Test Two, Day Four
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.126, Test Two, Day Three
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:24.611, Test Two, Day Two
Few teams ventured onto the hard tyres for more than a handful of laps in Barcelona with the tyre not suited to the lower track temperatures of late February/early March.
Williams set the pace at both tests on the tyre Bottas' 1:25.402 on Day Two of Test Two the fastest time on the compound. Indeed, of the top three times on the compound Williams were the only team to feature with Bottas also posting a 1:25.727 on Day One of the second test.
Bottas also posted the longest stint on the hard tyres with 26 laps on the orange-banded tyres on Day Two of the first test.
Best hard times
1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:25.402, Test Two, Day Two
2. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:26.511, Test Two, Day Four
3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:25.727, Test Two, Day One
The first race of the 2016 F1 season, the Australian GP, is exclusively live on Sky F1. The race in Melbourne starts at 5am on Sunday March 20.